Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Your Digital Footprint.... Ghosted! #EdChat

Digital Citizenship. Digital Literacy. Cyberbullying. Digital Footprint. We've all seen them. These buzzwords freely flowing around the education realm are a rallying cry to educate today's students about using digital tools. Blocking Facebook, protecting Twitter feeds, checking phones to see who has SnapChat installed, parents and educators are grappling with teens and young adults about being responsible online. To be sure, this is an important part of education today. We all work so hard to get people to think before they post. But what are we doing to start the conversation about friendship, trust, and intimacy online?

Case in point: I have Glide on my phone. Aside from Candy Crush, it is usually one of the last things I check before bed and the first when I wake up. (Yes I check my Twitter, Facebook, Glide, and Instagram accounts before my feet hit the floor every morning). Scrolling through some of the conversations (and some go back THOUSANDS of Glides), it hit me just how much I trust the people with whom I communicate. They've seen me at my best and my worst. The HOURS of conversation, confession, and memories that have been composed 100 seconds at a time is mind blowing. But here's the deal. We are adults. I trust them explicitly. They are my "inner circle" if you will. I have chosen to share this with them. But what happens when I'm not the one choosing to share?

What happens when I'm the educator at the beach in a two-piece bikini catching some rays and I end up in a stranger's picture? The stranger was capturing their own memories and by happenstance I ended up in the shot. Once they post that picture to Instagram or Flickr or Facebook, it is only a matter of time before someone I know sees it. How is that held against me at a later date? What happens when I'm out with friends after hours on my own time and video of us doing karaoke hits YouTube? I didn't ask for the footage and I certainly didn't approve it, but someone who I don't know just happened to post it. Do I, should I even have to, answer for that? Obviously these aren't cases of cyberbullying or arguably even ill intent. It just happens. How are we handling it? Are we educating students beyond posting about yourself and cyberbullying? Are we having conversation about accidentally sharing other peoples lives? Should we?

Just some thoughts. 

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